Fife Makes It Five | @AlexHTheMAX
There's now a second Hearts in Scottish League football and it isn't the reserve team from Tynecastle Stadium in Edinburgh! Alex Horsburgh (@AlexHTheMAX) introduces us to the brand new "Team 42" in the SPFL following a historic final day of the season in Scottish League Two.
Modern Scottish League history was made on Sunday May 23rd 2021 when Kelty Hearts replaced Brechin City in the SPFL after a 3-1 aggregate win in the Scottish Pyramid Play off final.
Kelty now move into League Two while Brechin are expected to be installed in the Highland League, as they are North of the River Tay, which is the dividing point for the Highland and Lowland Leagues.
These two divisions have been the pinnacle of the Scottish Pyramid since its inception in 2014 with the champions of each league playing off for the right to play the club at the bottom of SPFL League Two for the right to become a new Scottish League club.
This season Lowland League winners Kelty beat Highland Champs Brora to earn the right for a crack at League Two.
Only Edinburgh City (beating East Stirlingshire) and Cove Rangers of Aberdeen (sending Berwick Rangers down) had gone up from non league before Kelty in the Pyramid system North of the border.
Montrose (v Brora) and Cowdenbeath (twice v East Kilbride and Cove respectively) survived the drop in the other league v non league finals since 2014, but it was not to be for Brechin, after they had been given a stay of execution last season because of the early finish of the SPFL due to the pandemic. (Pyramid play off cancelled).
A sort of football karma then kicked in this term as Brechin finished bottom of League Two for the second season running and that once again set City up for a league survival tie with Kelty their opponents.
Kelty Hearts (managed by former Scotland, Rangers and Blackburn Rovers favourite Barry Ferguson) won the first leg of the 2020/1 play off final 2-1 at their New Central Park ground before clinching their SPFL place with a last gasp goal for 0-1 at Glebe Park, Brechin in a fiery 2nd Leg encounter which left both teams with ten men following red cards.
This now gives the county of Fife in the east of Scotland five league teams with Kelty joining Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline Athletic, Raith Rovers and East Fife in the SPFL from the Kingdom of Fife.
League Two Cowdenbeath v Kelty will now be the third closest league derby in Scotland after the Dundee city derby and Hamilton Accies v Motherwell with just three miles separating the former Fife mining town and Kelty, which is still termed as a village by some, and certainly one of the smallest towns in Central Scotland.
Kelty Hearts have gone from Amateur to Junior to Senior club in Scotland since being formed in 1975 and "The Maroon Machine" have proved to be one of the most progressive non league clubs in Scotland in the last ten years.
Now the little Fife club with big ambition have secured their place in Scottish League Two and it will be away days at the likes of Elgin, Edinburgh, Annan and Stirling next season, not to mention four league derbies with nearby Cowdenbeath, Fife's oldest league club, following their formation in 1881.
Groundhoppers are now planning post covid travels North of the border and they are ready to visit a football outpost across the Forth Bridges which has well and truly arrived as a possible new force in Scottish football below Premiership level.
Kelty Hearts are a Scottish League side.
©The Football History Boys, 2021
(All pictures borrowed kindly and not owned by TFHB)